Town of Durham looks to sell off surplus land

Town of Durham looks to sell off surplus land

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DURHAM — The town is planning to outline sale requirements for at least eight surplus properties. 

“The ultimate benefit to Durham is that it would put these scraps back on the tax rolls,” said Tax Collector Martin French during a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. 

An ordinance passed last year allows for the sale of the town-owned property. A list of 19 properties was eventually shortened to nine. If all nine are sold, the town could see roughly $17,000 more in annual taxes, according to French.

The nine surplus parcels range in size from 0.4 acres to 11.6 acres and were acquired between 2005 and this year. Most were abandoned and acquired through foreclosure or bankruptcy.

French has gathered input from the school district, town departments and boards to determine whether the list of nine properties had any potential use to the town. The Conservation Commission identified one property directly across from the skating pond on Wallingford Road that it believes should remain town property because it is mostly wetlands and an ecologically sensitive area. The 1.59 acre property also abuts state property.

First Selectwoman Laura Francis said the next step will be working with French to create bid packages for the Board of Selectmen to authorize, likely in the fall. 

“We'll put together the marketing plan, we'll take a look at the option of getting assistance (from a realtor),” Francis said. 

French intends to put together a bid package for the Wallingford Road parcel, but said it’s likely the board will decide not to put it out to bid. 

French has identified three of the properties that could have value to a builder, including two abutting properties on Turkey Hill Road and one on Crooked Hill Road. Property at 54R Turkey Hill Road is just under 3 acres and the 30R parcel is 5 acres.

The Crooked Hill Road property is the largest on the list at 11.61 acres. It was acquired by the town in a tax sale this February and a section of the parcel may be developable with approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The other parcels on the list include properties on Camera Road, Stagecoach Road, Guilford Road, Higganum Road, and Side Hill Drive.
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